TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Physarum polycephalum, better known as slime mold, is a single-celled creature that has attracted considerable attention in recent years for its ability to compute in unconventional ways. Various research groups have watched in barely disguised amazement as these single cells have solved mazes, recreated national motorway networks and even anticipated the timing of periodic events.
Now this extraordinary creature has added another skill to its box of tricks–the ability to make music, or at least to create sound in a controlled fashion.
To create a sound, Miranda and co used the signal from each electrode to control the frequency of an audio oscillator. With each electrode controlling a different range of frequencies, they then added the outputs from all the oscillators to create a complex sound that represents the activity of the Physarum.
Of course, this kind of mixing is rather arbitrary but Miranda and co are mainly interested in the sound production method. They say it is possible to control the electrical activity in different parts of the network of tubes by zapping it with light.
In a sense, this allows them to “play” the Physarum like a musical instrument.
Physics arXiv: Physicists Use Electrical Signals From Slime Mould to Make Music